an amazing ultrabook at a reasonable price
We tested the Asus Zenbook S 13, a great little machine that looks packed with features. Is it the perfect 13 inches? Here are some answers.
Upon opening the box, we discovered a really small model on top of the clamshell. Asus gave birth to a machine that is far from lively, but with a well-defined visual identity and, let’s face it, very successful. The engine is very elegant with a very nice coating on the magnesium-aluminum alloy and its marked curves; a real personal favorite.
If you want to be picky, the only construction “flaws” are that the notch is a little shallow and the hinge a little stiff. So it’s not as easy to open with your finger as other models can be. But every corner of the machine remains impressively finished. There is (almost) no bending of the tray or screen. And it is quite rare to underline such a thin model (15 mm at the hinge) and light (almost 1.1 kg)!
This is not an absolute record; other models that have fully played the ultra-mobility card, like the Lenovo Carbon, are better at this level. But they all make concessions that Asus has managed to avoid with this computer, placing it in a very interesting middle ground.
It starts on top of the display. As a general rule, who says Zenbook says very good panel; it’s an integral part of the range’s DNA, and this S 13 is no exception. The screen is beautiful! Judge for yourself: this is a 10-bit HDR500 OLED NanoEdge in 13.3″ 16:10 format, all with a resolution of 2.8 K (2880 x 1800). The response time is announced at 0.2 ms, for a refresh rate of 60 Hz. Colorimetric performance is also present, with 100% coverage of the DCI-P3 gamut. And even if the interest is not always obvious in a 13″, the screen is even tactile! No need to roll over: it is an almost perfect slab with few equals in this category.
However, there is one flaw worth mentioning. This Zenbook S 13 suffers from the same flaw as its two-headed cousin, the Zenbook Duo, namely the panel’s intense glare (see our test). Which actually does it, but then really uncomfortable once there is a lot of light on the sides, especially since the maximum brightness is quite moderate. We didn’t use it well outdoors and in direct sunlight; it hurts to look in the mirror if you just want to write.
But it is necessary to address some accusations against him. Because how much to say it right away, even if it means taking the risk of spoiling the suspense: this is the one and only major criticism we can legitimately address to this machine.
On the keyboard side, Asus did a good job. While this is a somewhat subjective point, we were pleasantly surprised by the firmness of the keyboard and the rather pleasant tactile feedback. In general, the keys seem a little more stabilized to us than other less finished 13″ models. On the layout side, we found the usual Asus layout, comfortable and functional. Only the power button is a little strange to touch. A very honest proposition with nothing transcendent, in other words.
The trackpad, for its part, is very generous for a 13 inch. In use, it is almost flawless. Note that some may not appreciate the physical switches, which are a little soft in the corners. But this shortcoming is compensated by a very useful feature; like its cousins in the Vivobook and Zenbook families, it transforms into a backlit numeric keypad when needed. Still effective, especially for mouse enthusiasts who otherwise can’t use the touchpad.
It’s hard to expect anything from a portable 13, and in particular from a 13-inch, in the area of audio. But this Zenbook S13 finally works well, thanks to its two drivers signed Harman Kardon. The rendering obviously remains a bit messy, especially once we go down the spectrum. So don’t expect to enjoy your tracks in lossless format in good condition. But the result is respectable, and that’s all audiophiles can reasonably expect from a laptop in this category.
Our model is equipped with an AMD Ryzen 6800U processor, an 8-core chip (16 threads) clocked at 2.7 GHz base, but capable of reaching 4.7 GHz when their limits are reached. Add 16GB of DDR5 RAM and 512GB of fast SSD storage, and you’ve got top-notch hardware for a device of this caliber. Unsurprisingly, this Zenbook S 13 offers very good performance for its category; the user has a comfortable margin of maneuver that allows doing tasks a little more demanding than simple office automation without causing the machine too much trouble.
Inevitably, in the absence of a dedicated graphics card, there is no hope of running demanding video games, editing videos in very high definition or performing very demanding simulations. But this Zenbook can still do some editing on the fly or run some moderate video games like Rocket League, Hades where Heart of stone in good condition.
The other advantage of this AMD processor is that it offers better energy management than its blue flag competitors. This has a clear impact on machine autonomy; it is quite enjoyable despite having an OLED screen. Thanks to this chip and the 67 Whr battery, we exceeded 10.5 hours of autonomy with fairly dense multimedia use; it is about three hours more than the Lenovo Yoga 7i Slim Carbon, which is also equipped with an 8-core chip for 16 threads (Intel Core i7 1260P). A clear difference that can be important at the end of a busy work day.
The ventilation has improved since the previous version; the radiator has been moved to the left side and no longer blows in the direction of the screen – a subtle, but significant improvement. Heating is generally managed very well, even when the device is under pressure as during our benchmarks. Under these conditions, we still feel a significant temperature rise at keyboard level, but the positioning of the cooling module allows the wrist rest to stay cool.
Along with screen brightness, this is the only real Achilles heel of this model. This Zenbook S13 has only 3 ports in total, and it is only USB-C, and there is no Thunderbolt 4 compatibility.
There’s no full-size HDMI socket or SD card reader. And in the box, there is only a semblance of a small dongle that allows you to convert a USB-C port to USB-A. To have access to other standard connections, and especially a full-size HDMI port, you’ll need to invest in another dongle. On the wireless side, this model is entitled to Wi-Fi 6E and Bluetooth 5.
Price and availability
This model is available directly from the Asus website and other online stores, such as Boulanger (see below) starting at €1499.99. A perfectly fair price for a utility of this caliber, and even quite interesting for a machine of this quality.
Buy Asus Zenbook S 13 at Boulanger